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NBA on ESPN Friday Preview: Heat at Mavericks, Grizzlies at Lakers

The stars are out tonight as Luka Doncic, Jimmy Butler, LeBron James, and Ja Morant headline ESPN’s Friday Night doubleheader.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

The NBA on ESPN returns tonight, kicking off at 6:30pm CST when Luka Doncic and the

The NBA on ESPN is back tonight at 6:30pm CST, as Luka Doncic leads the Dallas Mavericks into a matchup with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and the Miami Heat. The only thing these two teams have consistently been this season is inconsistent, so there’s definitely a chance for something strange to happen. Following the conclusion of that game, we will head to Staples Cen... er, I mean, Crypto dot com Arena as the Los Angeles Lakers play host to the scorching hot Memphis Grizzlies. Here’s a look at the betting breakdown ahead of tonight’s matchups:

DraftKings Odds

You can bet your favorite spread, moneyline, total or game prop over with our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Heat (-1.5, -125 ML) at Mavericks (+1.5, +105 ML) | Total: 219

As of writing 42% of bets are on the Heat to cover the spread, and 45% of the handle (money) is on Miami as well according to VSiN. In short, bettors are pretty split here, with public and sharp bettors alike unsure of which way this one will go. That makes sense, as these are two of the hardest teams to nail down in the entire league. As for the total, the public strongly favors the over, as 86% of bets are on over 219 points. Sharps are a little less sure, but 72% of the money is still on the over. It’s not surprising that the public likes the over more than the professional bettors do, but

The Picks: Mavs +1.5 | Over 219

I really have no clue what to expect tonight, so I guess I’ll just bank on Luka Doncic and the narrative that role players shoot better at home. I’m kind of just throwing my hands up at this one and banking on a great Luka game, although I do have admit that in theory Miami has a lot of good options to throw at him, between wing defenders like Butler and a presence at the rim like Bam. I don’t feel great about it, but I will ride with Luka.

If I’m picking the Mavs to win this game, I’m hoping it will also be a higher scoring game. The Dallas offense can play the slower, grind-it-out type of game that Miami wants to play, but their defense scares me. Miami’s offense doesn’t exactly strike fear into opponents, but Dallas’ defense has been pretty rough this year. I’ll take the over along with the Mavs.

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Grizzlies (-7.5, -280 ML) at Lakers (+7.5, +235 ML) | Total: 243.5

As of writing, 47% of bets have been wagered on the Grizzlies, along with an interesting 62% of the money. It looks like the professional bettors like the Grizz more than your average Joe placing a ticket at DraftKings. I wonder if some of that came amidst speculation that LeBron James could miss the game due to an ankle injury. However, while James is officially listed as questionable for the game, he played in the Lakers last game against the Houston Rockets and dropped 48/8/9, suggesting The King should be good to go. While the public slightly favors the Lakers in this game , it seems that the sharps are trying to find an edge on the Grizzles.

Everyone seems a bit turned off by the high point total tonight. with roughly 23 bettors taking the under, and the same goes for the handle. It’s not as if anyone expects a defensive showcase, but still, the number is scaring bettors.

The Picks: Grizzlies -7.5 | Under 243.5

This may be silly, but I don’t know how you can bet against the Grizzlies right now. They’ve won 11 (!) in a row now, and you better believe they are excited about the opportunity to stick it to LeBron and the Lakers on national television. There’s no love lost here, and the Grizzlies have the attitude of a team that just wants to embarrass you.

All Lakers games seem to turn into track meets these days, which is part of why the total is so high, but I think the Grizzlies are too good defensively for this game to go over this shocking total. This is the best defensive team in the NBA with Jaren Jackson, Jr. on the floor, and if you can take away or at least make things difficult for LeBron and Russell Westbrook at the rim, you can really force the Lakers offense into the mud. I think the Grizzlies will win this one in a rout, with the Lakers really struggling to score.

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